Articles Posted in Property crimes

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injection-1422245According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a man and woman reportedly broke into a home in Framingham this past week. The article states that police were dispatched to the home at around 12:45pm for a report of “suspicious people.” It is unclear who made the report or what the basis for the conclusion that the people were suspicious was. When the police arrived, the door to the basement was reportedly forced open and the man and woman were on the second floor of the home. The man was in a closet and was found with syringes and a bloody needle. The man told the police that a friend had let them enter the home, but according to the police, no one with the name provided by the man lived at that address. The police arrested the man and woman and charged them with: (1) breaking and entering with the daytime with the intent to commit a felony; and (2) malicious destruction of property.

For the Commonwealth to obtain convictions against the defendants for breaking and entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony under G. L. c. 266, § 18, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the defendants broke into a building belonging to another person; (2) that the defendants entered that building; and (3) that the defendants did so with the intent to commit a felony in that building. As to the third element of the offense, the Commonwealth must prove that the defendants intended to commit a felony at the time they broke into and entered the building.

For the Commonwealth to obtain convictions for malicious destruction of property under G. L. c. 266, § 127, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the defendants injured or destroyed the building of another; (2) that the defendants did so willfully; and (3) that the defendants did so with malice. As to the second element, an act is “willful” if it is done intentionally and by design, in contrast to an act which is done thoughtlessly or accidentally. A person acts willfully if s/he intends both the conduct and its harmful consequences. As to the third element, an act is done with “malice” if it is done out of cruelty, hostility or revenge. To act with malice, one must act not only deliberately, but out of hostility toward the owner of the property. This does not require that the person committing this offense knew the identity of the owner, but it does require that defendant was hostile toward the owner, whoever that was. Continue reading →

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cigarette-sticks-1394750-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, two teenagers were arrested this past week after allegedly robbing a gas station in Marlborough. The article states that two men wearing masks entered a Shell gas station on Lincoln Street shortly after 3am this past Thursday. One of the two men reportedly approached the clerk, pointed a handgun at him, and demanded cash while the other stood as a lookout at the door. The two men walked away with $340 in cash, several boxes of Newport cigarettes, and the clerk’s cellular telephone. Witnesses and the clerk provided a description of the two men to police – one was described as 6’ tall and the other as slightly shorter, both with thin builds.

Several hours after the robbery, the Marlborough police served a warrant for a parole violation on a seventeen year-old juvenile at an apartment on Lincoln Street. While serving the warrant, officers noticed that the juvenile matched the description of one of the two robbers. Additionally, officers observed several boxes of Newport cigarettes in plain view. Another man inside the apartment reportedly matched the description of the second suspect. Both the juvenile and the other man were arrested for armed robbery under G. L. c. 265, § 17.

Fortunately, both the juvenile and the other man appear to have strong arguments that they were not the people that were involved in the robbery. In particular, the suspects were masked and the only description provided was height and build. There does not appear to be any further information provided by witnesses documenting the suspects’ race, age, clothing, hair color, eye color, or facial features. In light of the lack of detail in the descriptions provided, it will likely be difficult if not impossible to argue that the two men arrested were in fact the individuals involved in the robbery. Continue reading →

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piggy-upclose-1278054-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, an Ashland woman smeared raw bacon on the dispatch window of the Framingham Police Department last week. The article states that the woman walked up to the dispatch window of the police station with a Dunkin Donuts box in her hand. An officer asked how he could help her, and she responded by stating that she was there to “feed the piggies.” She then reportedly pulled a large handful of raw bacon out of the box and smeared it on the dispatch window, leaving grease marks. Following this conduct, she flipped over the Dunkin Donuts box and spilled several sausage links onto the counter at the window. Two officers then confronted the woman and told her she was under arrest. When one of the officers asked her why she engaged in this behavior she said, “God told me to feed the piggies.” She was subsequently charged with one count of disorderly conduct and one count of malicious destruction of property under $250. At her arraignment, the woman told the judge “’they are allowing people to sell me and traffic my body.” She also stated “someone is out to get me. I don’t know who it is, but someone is out to get me.” Following these comments, the judge postponed the arraignment and ordered the woman to undergo a mental health evaluation.

For the Commonwealth to convict the woman of malicious destruction of property under G. L. c. 266, § 127, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the woman injured or destroyed the property of another; (2) that she did so willfully; (3) that she did so with malice; and (4) that the amount of damage inflicted to the property was less than $250. For the Commonwealth to convict the woman of disorderly conduct under G. L. c. 272, § 53, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the woman either engaged in fighting or threatening, or engaged in violent or tumultuous behavior, or created a hazardous or physically offensive condition by an act that served no legitimate purpose; (2) that the behavior was reasonably likely to affect the public; and (3) that the woman either intended to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly created a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.

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cigarettes-908564-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, two men were arrested in Framingham this week for breaking into an apartment building. The article states that a tenant in the building called the Framingham Police Department at approximately 2:15am because she heard a noise coming from the basement. When the police arrived, they found the two men sitting in the basement of the apartment building smoking cigarettes. One of the men told the police that he had a friend that lived in the apartment building. He further stated that he and the other man were walking and that it was extremely cold outside, so they decided to go hang out in the basement and smoke some cigarettes. Both of the men were subsequently charged with trespass and breaking and entering.

For the Commonwealth to convict them men of breaking and entering under G. L. c. 266, § 16, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the men broke into a building; (2) that they entered that building; (3) that they did so with the intent to commit a felony; and (4) that the breaking and entering happened at night. For the Commonwealth to convict the men of trespass under G. L. c. 266, § 120, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the men did not have the right to enter the building; (2) that they knowingly entered the building; and (3) that they were forbidden to enter the building of another person with lawful control of the premises.

It appears that both men have a strong defense to the breaking and entering charges, as well as a potential defense to the trespass charge. As to the breaking and entering, the Commonwealth may have trouble proving both that there was a breaking, and that either of the men entered the building with the intent to commit a felony. A breaking is defined as exerting physical force and thereby forcibly removing an obstruction to gain entry. Obvious examples of a breaking are breaking a window or forcing open a door or window. Going into a building through an unobstructed entrance, such as an open door, however, is not a breaking. Given the fact that there is no indication that the men used any force to get into the building, in conjunction with the fact that one of them reportedly knew someone that lived there, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this individual left a door open for the men, or that they entered the building through an open, unobstructed door. It also appears that the Commonwealth will have an even harder time proving the third element: that the men entered the building with the intent to commit a felony. There is no indication that there was any property damage or any items stolen from the building – to the contrary, one of the men explicitly stated that they were there smoking cigarettes, and that is exactly what the police found them doing. Therefore, there seems to be a fairly strong argument that the third element of the offense could not be met. Continue reading →

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window-screen-2-152156-mAccording to an article in The Boston Globe, there is a so-called “polite” burglar on the loose. The article states that a man has broken into a number of Middlesex County homes via windows on the first floor or basement. Sometimes the homes have been occupied at the time of the break-ins, but the police also believe that the man has broken into unoccupied homes as well. On the occasions when the homeowner was present, the man has apologized for breaking in. His behavior has been the same each time and he has not harmed any residents as of yet. The police, however, are concerned by his behavior and have told residents to consider him to be dangerous. Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo, Jr. specifically issued a statement saying that the man “is a dangerous felon who breaks into people’s homes, often while they are asleep inside.” The man has been described as a dark-skinned Hispanic or light-skinned African American male in his early 20s, about six feet tall with black marks or acne scars on his face.

Despite the strongly worded statements by the police, were law enforcement to actually apprehend the man, there seems to be a serious question as to what they could actually charge him with. For a charge of breaking and entering to issue under G. L. c. 266, § 16, the police would have to demonstrate probable cause to believe that the following elements were met: (1) that the defendant broke into a building; (2) that the defendant entered that building; and (3) that the defendant did so with the intent to commit a felony. Given the fact that there is no indication that the man has ever attempted to harm anyone in the homes, taken any property from the homes, or damaged any property from the homes, there seems to be a fairly strong argument that the third element of the offense could not be met. Likewise, for a charge of burglary to issue under G. L. c. 266, § 15, the police would have to demonstrate probable cause to believe that the following elements were met: (1) that the defendant broke into a house; (2) that the defendant entered the house; (3) that someone lived in the house; (4) the entry was at night; (5) the defendant entered the house with the intent to commit a felony; (6) the defendant was not armed; and (7) the defendant did not assault any person lawfully in the house. Again, given the fact that there is no indication that the man has ever attempted to harm any person or property in the homes, there seems to be a fairly strong argument that the fifth element of this offense could not be met. Continue reading →

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broken-window-1191524-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, an Ashland woman broke into an apartment in Framingham last week, with her two year old son in tow. A woman in a neighboring building called police and told them that she had seen a person breaking into an apartment at approximately 5pm. The police responded to the scene. Upon arrival, the police saw an overturned trash barrel underneath the fire escape. A window off the fire escape was broken and the police observed muddy footprints from the fire escape to the window. Additionally, the officers saw a car parked outside the apartment with a smashed windshield. An officer climbed the fire escape and went into the apartment through the broken window. The officer found the woman inside. She was barefoot and holding her two year old son. The woman told officers that her ex-boyfriend (the two year olds’ father) lived in the apartment and she broke in because she no longer lived there and had been locked out. She also admitted that she smashed the car windshield, and stated that she had broken in because her ex is seeing another woman. She was subsequently arrested for breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, malicious destruction of property, and malicious damage to a car.   Continue reading →

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jewel-3-556738-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a man from Worcester allegedly stole necklaces and a ring from his ex-girlfriend’s Framingham home and sold them to a local jewelry store. The investigation began in May when the mans ex went to the police station and reported that some of her jewelry was missing. She stated that she thought her ex boyfriend took the jewelry. The article does not include why she believed this to be the case, or what, if any, information she had to support her conclusion at the time that the allegations were made. The police then began checking local jewelry stores and apparently discovered that the man accused had sold a gold necklace and ring to Stardust Jewelers, located on Route 9, on March 30th for $41. The store provided photographs of the jewelry and the ex identified the items as hers. After she identified the jewelry as hers, the police then returned to the store and asked the store to return the items. The store, however, had already melted the necklace and ring down. At some point after that, the ex told either the police or the district attorney’s office that she did not want the police to prosecute him for the purported theft, but police sought charges anyway and he was arraigned on one count of receiving stolen property over $250. For the Commonwealth to convict him of receiving stolen property over $250 under G. L. c. 266, § 60, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the property in question was in fact stolen; (2) that he knew that the property had been stolen; (3) that he knowingly had the stolen property in his possession; and (4) the total value of the stolen property exceeded $250. As to the first element, the Commonwealth must establish that someone  had taken the property and carried it away without the right to do so, and without the consent of the owner, while intending to permanently deprive the owner of the property. The Commonwealth is not required to prove who stole the property. As to the second element, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew that the property was stolen, or at least believed that it was stolen – it is not sufficient to simply prove that a reasonable person in his position would have known or believed the property to be stolen. As to the third element, the Commonwealth must show that he “received” the property – specifically that he knowingly took custody or control of it. Continue reading →

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house-1390017-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a man allegedly damaged property at his home this past week. The article states that the defendant lives with his mother in Sudbury, and that his mother told him that he needed to go to an alcohol abuse treatment program. The article also indicates that the defendant’s mother told him that he could not come home until he had undergone such treatment. The defendant then reportedly went to a detox program for several days, but ultimately checked himself out. After the defendant left the program, he attempted to return home. When he did so, his mother apparently refused to let him inside. The defendant then allegedly threw a chair at the front door and made other attempts to enter the home.

As a result of these attempts to enter the house, the defendant’s mother called the police and reported that the defendant was trying to break in. When the police arrived, they found a door handle on the ground and other unspecified damage. The defendant allegedly smelled like alcohol. Officers handcuffed the defendant, who reportedly said “you got to be kidding me” to his mother. The defendant was subsequently charged with assault, trespassing, attempt to commit a crime, disorderly conduct, vandalizing of property, and witness intimidation. According to the article, the defendant’s mother was apparently at court for the arraignment, in support of the defendant. Continue reading →

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door-and-door-knob-1149600-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a man attempted to enter a Framingham apartment located at 12 Richardson Circle in the early hours of Saturday morning.  A resident reportedly called the police and alleged that someone had broken into his home.  The resident stated that he noticed that a man had opened the door to the apartment and was starting to enter.  The resident stated that he was scared, but was able to force the door shut and then called the police.  When the police arrived, they found the man in the mudroom and arrested him.  During the course of the arrest, the officers searched the man and located several bags of marijuana hidden in his sock.  The man was subsequently charged with (1) entering without breaking in the nighttime, owner put in fear, under G. L. c. 266, § 17; and (2) possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, under G. L. c. 94C, § 32C.

To prove that the man is guilty of entering without breaking, the Commonwealth would have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he entered a building, and put the owner (or in this case, resident) of the building in fear.  Entry is defined as the unlawful making of one’s way into a building.  Entry occurs if any part of the defendant’s body – even a hand or a foot – physically enters the building.  To prove that the man is guilty of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the Commonwealth would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance that was found is in fact marijuana, that the man possessed the substance, that he had the intent to distribute it to another person, and that he did so knowingly or intentionally.

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bathroom-2-1092823-mAccording to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a homeless man was arrested in a Framingham house last week.  According to the article, the man was found in the bathroom of the home.  The homeowner, a woman, told the police that she went into her bathroom and discovered the man, whom she does not know, passed out on the toilet.  The woman then called the police, who attempted to rouse the man, but had difficulty doing so.  When he finally came to, the police observed a cut on his hand and his face, and he looked like he’d been in some sort of altercation.  The man told the police that he believed he was in a relative’s apartment, but could not provide an address where the relative lived.  The man was ultimately arrested and charged with unarmed burglary.

Despite the fact that the man’s conduct undoubtedly frightened the homeowner, he appears to have a strong defense to the charge.  For the Commonwealth to prove that the man committed the offense of unarmed burglary under G. L. c. 266, § 15, the Commonwealth would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the man broke into the house; (2) entered the house; (3) someone lived in the house; (4) the entry was at night; (5) the man entered the house with the intended to commit a felony; (6) the man was not armed; and (7) the man did not assault any person lawfully in the house.

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